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Jazz Appreciation Month 2018

Jazz Appreciation Month (fondly known as “JAM”) was created at the National Museum of American History in 2001 to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April.

JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.

Soul Brother have decided to take the opportunity to highlight a different Jazz release each weekday for the whole of April. You can view the features below.

Jazz Appreciation Month 2018 – Day 19 | Lonnie Liston Smith – Expansions

‘Expansions’  from 1975 was Lonnie Liston Smith’s big crossover album that helped the keyboardist reach a wider audience. It is one of the all time greatest Jazz Funk albums. The title track ‘Expansions’ is one of those really special tracks that still sounds fresh even after 1000’s of plays and is totally engaging from the […]

Jazz Appreciation Month 2018 – Day 18 | Herbie Hancock – Thrust

The cover of Thrust reveals a lot of the album. Herbie’s sitting comfortably in his spaceship controlled by a synth from an alien world, reaching to the clouds and beyond. Well, that’s what his stature was in 1974 – one of the seminal renewers of Jazz by incorporating new electric instruments like the ARP synthesizer. […]

Jazz Appreciation Month 2018 – Day 17| Johnny Hammond – Gears

Johnny Hammond classic 1975 album ‘Gears’ was produced by the Mizell Brothers at the top of their game and is one of the all time great Jazz-Funk albums. It includes the funky up tempo instrumental ‘Los Conquistadores Chocolates’, and the Rare grooves ‘Fantasy’ , ‘Tell Me what to do’, ‘shifting Gears’ and beautiful ‘Can’t we […]

Jazz Appreciation Month 2018 – Day 16| Gregory Porter – Water

Imagine a voice with the richness of Nat King Cole, the phrasing and lyricism of Bill Wither and the range, depth and soulfulness of Dwight Trible/ Leon Thomas (Minus the yodelling) – Gregory Porter’s voice is such an instrument and a beautiful one at that. From the spiritual Jazz of ‘Black Nile’, the Coltrane-esque ‘Wisdom’ […]

Jazz Appreciation Month 2018 – Day 15 | Idris Muhammad – Turn This Mutha Out

Superb Disco Jazz Funk album, Idris Muhammad  recorded ‘Turn this Mutha Out’ for the Kudu label in 1977. ‘Could Heaven Ever Be Like This’ – a long-term favourite is like being momentarily transported to Jazz Funk paradise, a magical track that has become a classic. ‘Camby Bolongo’ is a delightful percussion heavy rhythmic instrumental featuring […]

Jazz Appreciation Month 2018 – Day 14 | Donald Byrd – Places And Spaces

The Mizell brothers produced some great jazz funk albums in the early to mid 70’s and were most associated with Donald Byrd and this classic 1975 album in particular. Their joyful heavily orchestrated backing tracks framed the lead instrument to create a total sound. Trumpeter Donald had recorded many great albums for Blue Note in […]

Jazz Appreciation Month 2018 – Day 13 | James Mason – Rhythm Of Life

This 1977 album from Roy Ayers guitarist James is one of the best rare groove jazz funk album ever. Featuring an all star line up inc Narada Michael Walden, Gene Torres and Roy Ayers sidemen Justo Almerio and Phillip Woo with the distinctive vocals of Clarice Taylor. ‘Sweet Power Your Embrace’ is an anthem that […]

Jazz Appreciation Month 2018 – Day 12 | Hank Mobley – Soul Station

Jazz is full of unsung heroes, men and women whose talent did not receive full recognition that may be they should. Hank Mobley is one such figure. The tenor saxophonist had the (mis)fortune to be contemporary with arguably the three of the greatest Jazz exponents of this instrument – John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Stan […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 11 | Mark Murphy – The Jazz Singer Anthology: The Muse Years 1972 – 1991

Mark Murphy is the archetypal Jazz singer; the term vocaleese was almost invented for him. His clear diction, pure tone and jazzy delivery earmarked Murphy as a singer of rare talent and one of post Hard Bop’s true singing legends. He combined style, incredible technique and a sense of humour. He displayed a level of […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 10 | Roy Ayers – Everybody The Sunshine

Often regarded as one of the greatest vibraphone players ever, Roy Ayers began his career as a jazz player, releasing several albums with Arista Records before his tenure at Polydor Records, during which he built and developed a new R&B style, fusing Jazz with the emerging disco sounds as well as drawing on funk. The […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 9 | John Coltrane – A Love Supreme

‘A Love Supreme’ is arguably the pinnacle of the famous John Coltrane Quartet. Its four parts take you on a spiritual and musical journey that John Coltrane travelled to find the creator and in effect the meaning of life. This sound very intense and whilst the music has moments of great intensity, there is moments […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 8 | Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue

Guitarist Kenny Burrell alongside Grant Green became Blue Note’s stable guitar man. ‘Midnight Blue’ recorded on January 7 1963 is arguably Burrell’s finest work. His playing is relaxed and fluid and the Latin backdrop provided by percussionist Ray Barretto give the album a Bossa feel. Add the soulfulness of Stanley Turrentine’s meaty tenor sax and […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 7 | Kamasi Washington – The Epic

Sax player Kamasi Washington arrives with this ambitious concept album, aptly entitled ‘The Epic’. Washington hails from South Central LA and is complimented by a fantastic group plus a 32 piece orchestra and 20 people choir. There are 17 tracks and it is superfluous to pick out individual parts/ tracks. If Spiritual jazz is your […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 6 | Donald Byrd – Black Byrd

Ground breaking album from 1973, one of the first jazz-funk albums and the biggest seller on Blue note at that time. Produced by Larry Mizell this introduced a new sound featuring an all star cast Inc Harvey Mason, Joe Sample, Wilton Felder etc topped by Donald’s brilliant trumpet playing. ‘Flight Time’, ‘BlackByrd’, ‘Love’s So Far […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 5 | Billy Cobham – Crosswinds

‘Crosswinds’ dates from 1974 and is Billy Cobham’s second solo album.  It features the Brecker Brothers in the horn section, keyboard legend George Duke and guitarist John Abercrombie.  It is a Jazz Funk gem that features four tracks.  The first ‘Spanish Moss – A Sound Portrait’ comprises the whole of side one of the vinyl […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 4 | Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue

‘Kind Of Blue’ is probably the greatest Jazz album of all-time, and almost certainly the biggest selling.  The all-star line-up features a horn section of Davis, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley.  Drummer Jimmy Cobb and bassist Paul Chambers are joined by Bill Evans on piano in the rhythm section, except on ‘Freddy Freeloader’ where Wynton […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 3 | Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters

Herbie Hancock is one of the most prolific jazz pianists of the 20th century. A child prodigy, he played with the greats such as Donald Byrd and Miles Davis. As he was a bit of a geek, he enjoyed gadgets & buttons and he was one of the first to embrace and master the electric […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 2 | Carmen Lundy – Soul To Soul

Carmen Lundy has established herself as one of the leading contemporary female jazz singers,she possesses a rich tone which oozes class and sassiness. ‘Soul To Soul’ is another great album with 13 mainly self composed captivating songs featuring an amazing cast of musicians. Patrice Rushen contributes a major part playing keyboards on most tracks, Bennie […]

Jazz Appreciation Month – Day 1 | Leon Thomas – Anthology

Leon Thomas was one of the most unique Jazz vocalists. His influence can be heard in the Spiritual Jazz of modern times especially in Dwight Trible. This anthology contains 12 of his best recordings, mainly for the Flying Dutchman label from 1969 to 1973. ‘Prince of Peace’ and ‘The Creator has a masterplan” are simply […]